In the Congregation

In the Congregation

I’m sitting in the congregation today!  It seems strange.  After eight years of being on the stand it is nice to sit with my wife.  (I was released last week as ward organist after 8 years.)

Several people commented and asked, “Does it feel strange?”

Well, a little, but it feels good too.  Change is good.

Testimony

I am convinced the bishopric can repeat over and over that testimonies should be brief, and define what a testimony is, and the same people who keep doing it will keep doing it because either a) they really don’t understand, or b) they don’t listen.

A friend posted on his Facebook profile about this topic, and all sorts of people chimed in leading me to believe people don’t understand.  As a result, my friend chimed in and bore his testimony as to how powerful it is to simply stick to statements of belief and knowledge.

So, gleaning from many sources here’s what it is…

  • It is a short statement of your believe, faith or knowledge of Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father, the Restored Gospel, the Book of Mormon and Scriptures, etc.

These statements are usually prefaced by, “I know…. “,  “I believe… “,  or “I trust… “, or “I have faith…”

For examples, “I believe God lives.”, “I know my Father in Heaven loves me.”, “I have faith that we will live after again after we die.”

It doesn’t have to contain a story, and if it does, it should be short and supportive of your statement of fact.  It should never be an exhortation, call to repentance, or a prepared talk.  Thus, it only has to be a few statements of deep conviction.

Dinner with the Sisters

Dinner with Sisters Henrie and Searle was nice.  I made grilled salmon atop a bed of greens, mushrooms, onions and topped with a mustard demi-glace.  Dessert, well, that was unusual… cucumbers imitating apple slices over ice cream.

copyright 2017 db walton
Salmon Over Greens with Demi-glace
copyright 2017 db walton
Sisters Searle and Henrie and Elizabethe

 

Whistling Distracts

Whistling Distracts

When the organist is playing prelude music, whistling distracts.  It distracts people listening to the prelude music, but it also distracts the organist.  I’m not sure who was whistling, but it was sure making it difficult to play.

Perhaps it is a bad habit I learned in my early days, but if I can’t hear what I’m playing, I have a difficult time hitting the right notes.  Ever since I had an attack of SHL (Sudden Hearing Loss) about 13 years ago, my hearing becomes selective.  It is like a directional microphone.  I only hear one thing at a time, or nothing at all.  (When I say nothing at all, I mean I cannot separate the different sounds.  I hate crowds for that reason.)

In spite of the bishop’s request for people to come sit and listen to the prelude music, I think many have forgot.  A few weeks ago I heard someone actually yell out someone’s name from across the chapel.  I’ll admit I have been guilty of talking in the chapel before Sacrament Meeting, but being the ward organist has made me more aware of the importance of chapel reverence.

R and R

The doctor has me on R and R (rest and relaxation).  I came home after sacrament meeting and put my foot up.

Occipital Headache

Occipital Headache

I’ve been having Occipital Headaches the last few days and this morning I was able to pinpoint the cause:  Bad dreams.

That’s right, bad dreams.  Every night that I’ve had one it came on in the middle of the night and when I woke I woke out of a bad dream and with an excruciating headache.  I didn’t make the connection until last night’s bad dream followed by a headache event.

To the young man who years ago told a deacon’s quorum we were teaching that stress cannot cause physical pain, I wish I could grab you by both ears, turn your face towards mine and say, “You’re wrong.”  I am learning first hand what PTSD is all about.  It is emotionally, physically and mentally challenging and painful.

I told the doctor there isn’t enough said about non-veteran PTSD sufferers.  His comment was chilling.  He said that over 80% of the patients he sees suffer from PTSD brought on by rape, physical abuse, accidents and other forms of trauma besides those who suffer battlefield trauma.

About the only time we hear about it in the media is when someone commits suicide.  This sends the impression that PTSD sufferers are suicidal.  This is not the case and suicide is quite rare (less than 1%).

The good news is there is Cognitive Therapy treatment for PTSD.  PTSD is one of those things that doesn’t respond well to drug therapy (like anti-depressants), and so cognitive training helps us learn to re-train our thoughts which in the long run helps us respond differently when we have the problem-causing thoughts.  It’s not a quick fix, but I’m keeping a positive attitude that it will be a way to work through this.

In the mean time, I deal with painful (literally) symptoms like these headaches.    I’m hoping now that I know the headaches seem to follow a bad dream that somehow this cognitive therapy will help the bad dreams eventually go away.  Staring at the undercarriage of a car and thinking, “I’m going to die”, is what started it.  Now I just need to convince those subconscious that all is okay; it was a one-time event and all is going to be okay.  (Easier said than done, but I’ve got to think positive.)

—–

Tonight at Stake Conference I joked with President Clark that I was prepared to perform the entire Beatles White Album for prelude tomorrow.  He laughed and said, “If anyone can pull it off, you can.”

I love my stake president.  He’s a good leader, example and friend.  The fact that we can openly joke about stuff like that says he’s got a great sense of humor too.

I told him I was having difficulty trying to figure out how to play Revolution on the organ.  He smiled and asked about Helter Skelter.  We both laughed and I added that Little Piggies wasn’t going to be a problem, albeit a little sacrilegious.

Yes, we have fun joking around, but when it comes down to it, I take my calling as organist seriously.  My prelude and postlude music is from the hymnal and I play each him with feeling.

Stake Conference, November 2013

I had a nice conversation with a friend whom I will be traveling to Israel with.  He’s been there before, and it will be my first trip.  I’m excited to be going.

Our stake conference was today.  I was organist for both sessions.  I’m not sure what happened with the intermediate hymn during the 1st session, but my fingers just didn’t listen to my brain while I was trying to play the introduction.  Perhaps I was thinking 2 sharps instead of 1 ?  Not sure, but it was a little unnerving.  But, prayers were answered and the rest of the hymns went just fine.

During the last session, they did something pretty clever.  They had a Q&A session, but asked members to text their questions.  One of the counselors in the presidency had a tablet and read the questions and then various stake and mission leaders answered them.

A great good use for technology.

Headache Continues

The headache continues today. Around the time that we got to the closing hymn, it was so bad I couldn’t see straight. Then, when it came time to play the postlude music, I literally couldn’t play at first. But, after a short prayer I was able to muddle through the hymn. Priesthood wasn’t any better.

We came straight home after church, and after getting a little protein and taking a nap, things started feeling better.

We fed the sister missionaries dinner. We had sausages on hotdog buns with all the fixings. I made a “hornet’s nest” cake for dessert. Vanilla pudding, yellow cake mix, bag of chocolate chips, and some chopped pecans. (A modification of a recipe in The Cake Doctor book.)

New Camera Class and Conference

I taught another ‘So You Got a New Camera – Now What’ class today.  It went well and it is always fun seeing people get excited about what they discovered their camera can do.  It is also fun to have them ask, “How do you..?” and to be able to teach them how to perform that task.

After the class, I rushed off for stake conference leadership meeting.  We had break-out sessions and I was assigned to attend the one presented by President Christianson.  It was a great meeting.

With only an hour between the leadership session and the adult session, I had to rush back home, eat, pickup Elizabethe and head back in time to play prelude music.

After the conference, a lady came up and complimented me on my organ playing.  That’s kind of funny, because I don’t think I’m that great at it.  She asked if the shoes I was wearing were “organ shoes”.  I told her they were not, and that I don’t use the pedals because I’ve never mastered being able to play with my feet – I’m too clumsy.  When I told her that, she was REALLY impressed that I could get that sound out of the organ without the pedals.  Needless to say, it made my evening.

Triple-chocolate Brownies

I couldn’t resist at WalMart the other day.  Chocolate chips were on sale so I bought a bag of milk, semi-sweet and dark chocolate chips.  Well, today, I broke down and made brownies and put all three types in as well as walnuts.

Earlier in the day…

I left for church early so I could practice the organ.  When I was a kid I called them “oregons”, and now I’m the ward organist.  Go figure.  It turns out Kathy Hill was prepared to play today so I relinquished the opportunity to her.

All of the young sister missionaries sang, “Lord I Would Follow Thee”.  These young missionaries are amazing.  Again, they proved it with their singing.

After church, I cooked up some green beans, hamburger, oyster sauce and served it over steamed rice.  The elders had brought home a huge box of green beans.  Elder Flynn was saying there’s a whole 80 acres of them that are going to get plowed under.  Elizabethe suggested the bring home more and she’d blanch and freeze them.

Next, Chris Loren and I went home teaching at the Nichols’.  They live on Route 21 not far from the Palmyra Inn.  I gathered from the visit that the Nichols and the Lorens are good friends.

Well, I shouldn’t be surprised that those brownies went so quickly.   Hey, see what you have to look forward to when you come stay at the Beckwith Mansion.  Just wait until I fix a “gooey cake”.  (Imagine cheese cake so rich you can’t handle seconds.  Imagine 1/2 pound butter, 1/2 pound cream cheese, and much more.)

Triple-chocolate Brownies
Triple-chocolate Brownies

Traffic Re-routing

Canaltown Days were going on today, but I don’t participate in those activities on Sundays.  So, on the way home from church, they had Stafford road blocked off.  We drove a block over, and came down to Main Street, and it was blocked off too.

Now, keep in mind that the parade was yesterday.

We asked the office if we could get through since we only lived a block down the road.  Instead, he wanted us to go east and come on to main heading the other direction.

We did as directed, only to find they were not using that section of Main Street for anything.  Very strange.

Chris Lauren and I did some of our home teaching today.  (In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, families are visited each month by two priesthood holders.  The purpose of the visit is to check on the welfare of the family and to instruct them.)  We have 3 families – the Green’s, the Scott’s and the Nichols’.  We visited the Green’s and the Scott’s.

Being new to these families, we spent the time getting to know them.  The Green’s are both from this area.  Bro. Scott is from Southern California, and his wife is from the Buffalo Area.  Both families are delightful and it is going to be fun home teaching them.  

At church I was sustained as the ward organist.  This is in addition to being the Primary Pianist.  There is nothing like using the tallents God has given you.  It is rewarding and fulfilling.  I just hope I don’t fat-finger too many notes when I play.